Drink Like Jay Z with These 6 Signature D’USSÉ Cognac Cocktails

Autumn is right around the corner and that means it’s time to start getting back into the darker, richer, fuller flavors that come with brown spirits (we still love you, gin and vodka, we promise, but we think it’s time we see other drinks for a little while). We’re going to start out brown spirits coverage this fall with cognac.

The spirit itself is a variety of brandy that is made from grapes, must be distilled twice in copper stills, and aged at least two years in French Oak barrels.

For those of a certain age, you might associate cognac with Tim Meadows’ SNL character Leon Phelps—otherwise known as The Ladies Man—who always had a bottle of Courvoisier close at hand.

D’USSÉ, a cognac created by Cellar Master Michel Cassavecchia, is known for being the spirit of choice for Jay-Z so if you find yourself rapping along to “Big Pimpin’” or “99 Problems” at stoplights while people in other cars stare at you, then these cocktails—a mix of takes on classics and new cocktails—are for you.

Related: Booze Will Make Your Meat Taste Better


  • 1 ½ oz D’USSÉ VSOP Cognac
  • ¼ oz Absinthe
  • 1 sugar cube
  • Three dashes Angostura Bitters

Method: Rinse a chilled old-fashioned glass with the absinthe, add crushed ice and set it aside. Stir the remaining ingredients over ice and set it aside. Discard the ice and any excess absinthe from the prepared glass, and strain the drink into the glass. Garnish with a lemon peel.

Pomme D’or

  • 1½ parts D’USSÉ VSOP Cognac
  • ½ part honey syrup
  • ½ part fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • ¼ part Benedictine Liqueur
  • 2 dashes bitters (Fee Brothers Old-Fashioned or Angostura)

Method: Shake and strain first four ingredients into a rocks glass with one large ice cube and top with bitters. Garnish with a Golden Delicious apple fan.

The Storm

  • 1½ parts D’USSÉ VSOP Cognac
  • ½ part triple sec
  • ½ part grenadine
  • 1 part cranberry juice
  • 1 part ginger beer (or ginger ale)

Method: Build first four ingredients with ice in a rocks glass and top with ginger beer. Garnish with an orange wheel.


  • 1 part D’USSÉ VSOP Cognac
  • 1 part Martini Rosso
  • Dash walnut bitters

Method: Stir all ingredients with ice in a rocks glass. Use a smoking gun to push smoke through the liquid. Garnish with orange zest.


  • 1½ parts D’USSÉ VSOP Cognac
  • 1 part triple sec
  • ¾ part freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¼ part sugar

Method: Shake and strain all ingredients into a sugar-rimmed coupe glass. Garnish with lemon peel.

Black River Peal

  • 1¾ parts D’USSÉ VSOP Cognac
  • ½ part Benedictine Liqueur
  • ½ part Japanese plum wine (Umeshu)
  • 2 dashes grapefruit bitters
  • 1 dash chocolate bitters

Method: Combine all ingredients and stir gently. Pour into a tulip glass. Garnish with small flowers.